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Friday January 25, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

Frank Henssler, a German who worked out of the Aosta Valley, was among the seven who died in the collision near the Italian ski resort of La Thuile.

The popular 49-year-old worked mainly out of Gressoney and was a regular mountain guide for GuideMonterosa.

He was in a heliskiing helicopter that collided with a light aircraft near the Italy-France border in the Aosta Valley on Friday afternoon.

Guide Monterosa has paid tribute to him and the others who died, posing photos and writing on social media:

A big tragedy occurred yesterday. Now we will ski again with Christoph, Ingrid, and Max in paradise...

We won't give up Frank! We will continue because you gave us a lot, your experience, your smile and your passion; we will carry on your projects and dreams.

Your Brothers.


Many former clients and friends of the guide have also been paying their respects on the GuideMonterosa Facebook page:

Facebook tributesTributes


The death toll from Friday's collision was provisionally put at five, but two people were unaccounted for.

On Saturday, two more bodies were recovered from the scene.

Another two people who were seriously injured are in hospital.

One is the French pilot of the light aircraft, which took off from Megeve in France.

According to reports in the Italian media on Saturday afternoon, he was arrested and is facing possible criminal charges.

The collision occured on Friday afternoon over the Rutor glacier near La Thuile, which is a popular Italian ski resort linked to La Rosiere in France.

Crash siteImage from rescue service @cnsas_official

The alarm was raised by a member of the piste patrol who witnessed the collision.

The helicopter, used for heliskiing, had come from the ski resort of Courmayeur.

Five of the dead were on board the helicopter.

They included mountain guide Frank Henssler, the pilot Maurizio Scarpelli (53) and three heliski clients.

The passengers were from Belgium and Switzerland.

The light aircraft was reported to be carrying a pilot instructor and two pupils.

The Rutor glacier covers 9 square kilometers (3 square miles) and is the second-largest in the Val d'Aosta.

The region's website says skiers frequently access it by helicopter during winter.

The Italian mountain rescue service, Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino E Speleologico (CNSAS), posted this image and updates on the accident on Twitter.

The CNSAS said two helicopters were sent to the accident scene with medics.

Rescuers were equipped with metal-cutting tools.

Plane debrisImage: @cnas_official Twitter

The circumstances of the mid-air collision are under investigation. 

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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